Things to do in Genoa

The university port town of Genoa in Italy is one of the principal ports along the Mediterranean. Also called 'La Superba', Genoa boasts of ornate cathedrals, splendid frescoes and imposing monuments standing austere witness to the baroque architecture. Gothic churches, famous painters, grandiose palaces and architectural structures speak volumes of the artistic heritage of Genoa.

Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini were sons of Genoa as also Christopher Columbus who discovered American subcontinent. Genoa was part of the Sardinia-Piedmont kingdom and became part of the Italian Republic during the unification of the country. Genoa played an important role in Italian history, being a center of resistance movement during World War II.

Take a flight to Cristoforo Colombo airport and embark on your Genoa tour. With frequent connections from major Italian cities, you can take a convenient train to Genoa. Ferries from most Mediterranean ports are yet another wonderful way to explore Genoa. Find out interesting things to do in Genoa. Go off the beaten path and explore the city on a walking tour. Sample the sights and sounds and the gastronomical fare while visiting Genoa in Italy.

Walking around Genoa

You can embark on your walking tour of Genoa from the Piazza de Ferrari, the central city square. Streets off this main square take you to various tourist monuments, shopping areas and more! The maze of streets off the Piazza Matteotti takes you through fascinating historical buildings, Cathedral of San Lorenzo and Christopher Columbus' house. The 'Casa di Cristoforo Colombo' is the house where Columbus is said to have spent his growing years.

Via Garibaldi is a famous street of the city and listed as a UNESCO Heritage site. Take in the old-world charm as you walk down the cobblestone path flanked by art galleries that were earlier beautiful palaces - Palazzo Rosso and Palazzo Tursi. Finally walk down to the old port area. The old port area offers tourist attractions such as the Aquarium, botanical garden and pirate ship replica. A visit to the Bigo Tower is an unguided tour from the sky on a spectacular panoramic rotating lift.

Another attraction in Genoa is the city walls. Along with the gates and fortresses, the Genoa city walls are reminiscent of a bygone era. The New Walls encircle downtown Genoa along the hilly ridge. Walk up the fortresses to catch a glimpse of the picturesque city and surroundings. Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, get atop forty meters by lift for a spectacular experience with soft music playing in the background and take in the skyline of Genoa.

Visiting Genoa Italy

  • The port of Genoa contains an ancient lighthouse called 'La Lanterna' which is the oldest working lighthouse in the world. This is one of the five tallest ones and the tallest brick one, a distinct landmark of Genoa.
  • The Genoa Aquarium is housed in a building on the Spinola Bridge and is one of the biggest and most up-to-date sea parks in Europe. This adventurous aquatic tour takes the tourist from the Mediterranean Sea beds to a Madagascar lagoon with mangrove forests to the jungle of hummingbirds from Antarctic waters to delicate coral reefs bouncing with life and color.
  • Galata Maritime Museum is the largest maritime museum in the Mediterranean with more than 10,000 meters of exhibition space. This tour is a journey through time from galleys to transatlantic ships capturing the essence of five hundred years of challenges at sea from medieval ages till today.
  • Palazzo Rosso on Via Garibaldi boasts of lavishly furnished rooms, intricate frescoed interiors and paintings by masters such as Titian, Veronese, Reni and Van Dyck. Walk up the beautiful double marble staircase.
  • Museo di Palazzo Reale or the Royal Palace Museum has gold-threaded tapestry, sculptures and frescoes.

The black-and-white striped cathedral of Genoa is a marvelous piece of architecture. It has a frontage of twisting columns and crouching lions. Cattedrale di San Lorenzo or Church of San Lorenzo has a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist and is said to contain the saint's relics. The 3 black and white marble portals bear sculptures of the Virgin Mary much like those found in Chartres and Rouen.

  • The Biosfera of giant glass house is home to a vast collection of tropical plants, birds and butterflies.
  • While driving from the airport to the city, you cannot miss the Durazzo-Pallavicini Villa; housing an archeological museum, botanical garden, Turkish temple and Chinese pagoda.
  • A walk of about 40 minutes from the Piazza de Ferrari takes you to the Cemetery of Staglieno.
  • Dating back to the 5th century, the Church of St Stefano houses stucco work, mosaics and frescoes.

Nightlife in Genoa

When in Genoa, explore the trattorias, restaurants and lounge bars around the Piazza De Ferraris. Spend an evening out near the Porto Antico enjoying a movie, nightclub or shopping. Catch some live music at the Jazz Clubs or a wonderful theater experience at Teatro Carlo Felice. Get to the historic part of Genoa town to catch the hotspots for a lively evening out. You will find most nightclubs, tapas bars, wine cellars and more along the stretch from Piazza Sarzano and Via San Lorenzo.

Gastronomic tour of Genoa

Smell the fresh focaccia bread and check out the fruit and vegetable stalls. Don't miss the meat stalls and bakeries lining the streets. Focaccia is a flatbread stuffed with cheese and topped with vegetables and herbs. Farinata is a chickpea snack stuffed with spinach and ricotta. Try out the famous pesto sauce. The caruggi (alleys of Genoa) abound with traditional Ligurian cuisine.

Another place to catch some local food is the Sottoripa or covered medieval lane near the Aquarium). Try fritto misto or fried seafood including mussels and anchovy. Genoa is famous for its shortbreads called Gobeletti, pastries and pandolce. You can check out the fresh colorful produce at Mercato Orientale.

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